Personal and professional demands can test the mental health of all of us. Recent changes in the Canadian workforce, such as remote working, hybrid, and in-person models, have brought about challenges in meeting work demands. These can be a source of stress and have an impact on employees' mental health and wellness in the workplace.
In fact, the Mental Health Commission of Canada finds that 70% of Canadian employees are concerned about their workplace's psychological health, and 14% consider their workplace unhealthy or unsafe.
Business leaders need to ask themselves:
- How can I best support my people to be resilient?
- How can I sustain a safe and accommodating workplace environment for my people?
- How can I be a better leader for my team when it comes to mental health?
Lead by example
Harvard Business Review advises that “when we acknowledge our mental health, we get to know ourselves better, and are more authentic people, employees, and leaders. Research has found that feeling authentic and open at work leads to better performance, engagement, employee retention, and overall well-being.”
Talking about mental wellness is an important facet of self-care for all members of the team—including leaders. Communication lessens stigmatization and supports team members. According to a CBC article on why you and your boss should talk honestly about your mental health, 75% of employers acknowledge the presence of stigma in their workplaces.
It's crucial for leaders to ensure they understand the stigma around mental health in the workplace through means of training, changing the way mental health is perceived, providing benefits and resources, and most importantly: regular check-ins.
Lead with communication
Genuine communication will help you provide your employees with a healthy, safe, inclusive, accessible, and supportive workplace. If your team is virtual, it's crucial to maintain strong connections—be mindful to keep the open and authentic channels of communication you would have if your team worked in a shared office. On the other hand, if your team embraces a hybrid model, or even if you're fully back to in-person work, it's key to sustain these conversations and reassure employees that their wellness is a top priority.
Begin the conversation by sharing resources that support mental wellness—and sharing your experiences.